Ban Pin Shan
When you ride the train and enter Kaohsiung in Southern Taiwan, you can see a mountain called "Ban Pin Shan." This mountain looks exactly like its name implies, a half. It's shape is like an ordinary mountain but with a missing side as if someone had taken a sword and carved out half of the mountain. You may be curious about the missing half, but don't worry, there is a legend which will explain the whole story.
Once upon a time, when Ban Pin Shan was still undivided, a small village existed at the foot of the mountain. One day, an old man who was selling dumplings came to the village. He had white hair and a white beard and his clothing was very old and worn. He carried a heavy load of hot dumplings which looked and smelled deliciously good to eat. However, everyone in the village thought the old man was stupid because he yelled, " Hot and delicious dumplings! One for ten cents, two for twenty cents and three for free!"
" What is going on? " the villagers asked surprised.
" Hot and delicious dumplings! Red beans and sesame. One for ten cents, two for twenty cents and three for free!" the crazy old man yelled again.
More and more villagers began to gather around. They whispered in low voices, " Can this be true? Three dumplings for free? Is this old man tricking us?"
"Who cares! I'll eat three dumplings first and see whether it's free or not." BigHead Wang said.
"Mmmm, these dumplings are so good!" BigHead Wang said while he was eating the dumplings. The old man's dumplings were as big as chicken eggs. When BigHead Wang finished his second dumpling, he was so full that he could not eat anymore. However, he asked the old man, "If I eat three dumplings, I don't have to pay right?"
"I never tell lies. I already said three for free." the old man replied.
BigHead Wang stuffed down another dumpling just so he could have the dumplings for free. The old man kept his word and didn't charge BigHead Wang any money.
The other villagers began to order the old man's dumplings. Everyone ordered three free dumplings; no one ordered either one or two dumplings. After a while, the load of dumplings was all eaten by the villagers. "You all do have a good appetite," the old man said smilingly. People who did not get any dumplings watched the old man leave with disappointment.
A villager who just ate three dumplings cried out suddenly, "Look! How is it that the mountain behind the village is missing a part?"
"Stop talking nonsense! From the way I see it, I think you ate too many dumplings which has made your mind confused," someone replied.
The villagers began to talk about the old man. " Ha! I can't believe there is a stupid person who would sell three dumplings for free."
"His dumplings are so delicious. I wonder what they're made of . I wonder where this old man came from? I wish he could come everyday. "
On the second day, the crazy old man came to the village again. He yelled, "Hot and delicious dumplings! Peanut and sesame. One for ten cents, two for twenty cents, or three for free!" Everyone began to gather around the old man. They ate the dumplings so fast that they didn't even chew on the dumplings. After a while, the dumplings were all eaten again.
On the third day, the same thing happened; villagers were trying to eat as much as they possibly could. Suddenly, a voice was heard, "Mister, can you please give me one dumpling ?" Everyone was surprised. They turned and stared at the young man who asked the old man sincerely.
"Young man, did you hear me clearly? One for ten cents, two for twenty cents, or three for free. Why do you want just one dumpling when you could get three for free?"
"I know," the young man replied, "but I see how you've carried a heavy load of dumplings everyday and not made any money. I feel sorry for you. I really want to help, but I have only enough money to pay for one dumpling." Every one of the greedy villagers felt ashamed when they heard the young man's words.
"Ha, Ha! I've found you at last. You are the kind of person suitable to be my pupil. I am the god from that mountain behind the village.... "
Everyone realized now that the old man was actually the mountain god. To find himself a trustworthy and kindhearted pupil, the mountain god had disguised himself as a senile old man in order to test the people's hearts. His dumplings were not real dumplings; his dumplings were made from mud that was dug out of the mountain.
After the villagers heard the mountain god's explanation, they ran to see the leftover dumplings. However, all they could see was a pot full of mud. When they turned and looked at the mountain, the villagers saw a mountain with a missing half.
The mountain god took the young man back to his place and prepared to teach this kind hearted man all his magic.
As for the villagers, they felt really disgusted about eating all the mud and wished they could vomit out all the mud they had eaten. They regretted their actions and blamed themselves for being greedy.
After this incident, the villagers referred to the mountain as Ban Pin Shan.